Monday of Advent I – Prayer of the Week

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

One my colleagues in ministry used to refer to these Advent prayers as the “Cowboy Prayers.” Three out of four Sundays in Advent we start of our Prayer of the Day by asking God to “Stir up…” It was a bad pun, but he never grew tired of it. He is in glory now. I wonder if he annoys angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven with it.

Today we ask God to stir up His power to bear on the threatening perils of our sins and to save us by a mighty deliverance. If this problem takes God’s stirred up power, it must be a big one. But the problem is the threatening peril of our own sins. We are used to looking out and seeing some threat on the horizon requiring either that we fight or flee. But this problem is inside us. We are the problem. It is our sin which threatens us. We need God’s power to come and deal with it, to rescue us from a peril which stares back at us in the mirror.

My friend had an abiding love of puns, many of which were terrible. He was aware of just how annoying these could be. He might have even enjoyed that aspect of them. I really don’t think he could restrain himself. When the opportunity presented itself, he just had to say the pun. We loved him anyway. But isn’t that just a little bit of our way with Sin? We need God to rescue us from ourselves. We just cannot help ourselves. Punning is fairly innocent. Eliciting eye-rolls and groans is not such a bad thing. But a sinful bent toward lying, a predilection to lust, a heart deformed by greed or envy. Those things cause real problems, not only between my neighbor and me, but also with God. Yes, God, stir up that power because my heart needs serious remodeling. In fact, remodeling may not be enough. My heart and my life stand condemned, ready for the wrecking ball of death. But even that is not beyond God’s power to save and restore. Stir up that resurrecting power, O Lord. I need it.

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